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What does the Bible say about black magic?

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God despises witchcraft, sorcery, and all kinds of magic (“white” or “black”), and He warns against our involvement in such practices. Black magic, also called dark magic, is the use of supernatural powers for selfish purposes, often involving the casting of spells to control other people or to bring about evil. Practitioners of black magic seek to conjure demonic beings, speak to the dead, and in general benefit themselves at the expense of others.

The Bible lists witchcraft and, by association, black magic as one of the works of the flesh: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: . . . witchcraft. . . . Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19–21). When people in Ephesus came to know Christ, they brought their magic books and publicly burned them as a sign that they were trading the dark power of sorcery for the holy power of the Spirit (Acts 19:19). In Revelation 21:8 those who practice black magic are warned of God’s judgment in no uncertain terms: “Those who practice magic arts . . . will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Black magic is an ancient practice, and many Old Testament commands forbade the Israelites from all association with witchcraft or sorcery. Deuteronomy 18:10 says, “Let no one be found among you . . . who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft.” Under Israel’s theocracy, the penalty for being a witch was death (Exodus 22:18). Many other Old Testament passages condemn black magic along with witchcraft in its many forms (Micah 3:7; 5:12; 2 Kings 21:6; Leviticus 19:26, 31; Deuteronomy 18:14).

Black magic is wrong on several levels. First, we should seek power and wisdom from God alone and trust Him as the omnipotent source of all that is good; we are not to seek power or wisdom from lying, unclean spirits or trust them in any way. Second, our goal should be to accomplish God’s will, not to pursue our own selfish ends. Third, we are to love our enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44); black magic teaches people to hate their enemies and place hexes on them. Fourth, seeking to control others or wield power over them is contrary to God’s desire that people exercise free will and make moral choices. Fifth, opening oneself to demonic influence is beyond foolish, because the devil is an adversary who seeks to destroy (1 Peter 5:8). God clearly condemns the evil practice of black magic. To choose black magic is to reject the control of God and invite judgment (see John 12:48).

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022